Atwater woman seriously hurt in fire

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comOctober 22, 2012 

A 63-year-old woman is in serious condition after a two-alarm fire gutted her home Monday in the 1600 block of Valley Street in Atwater, said Gabriel Santos, battalion chief with Cal Fire.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection responded to calls from neighbors arriving to find the single-story home filled with light smoke. The 23 firefighters contained the blaze in about 10 minutes and rescued the woman inside, who suffered from burns and smoke inhalation.

Because she wasn't breathing on her own, the woman was put on life support and taken by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center Merced, where she's listed in serious condition.

Five fire engines and two battalion chiefs assisted in containing the fire.

Santos said the quick response from the Atwater fire engines helped contain the fire before it could spread to neighboring homes.

The 1,400-square-foot home is uninhabitable, with major damage to the bedroom where the fire started and smoke damage in the rest of the home.

The cause is unknown and is under investigation by Atwater police and Cal Fire investigators.

Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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